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Atrocious Examples of Rent Gouging for the Papal Visit

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Ain't nobody got Pope Fever like the hundreds of Philadelphians itching to make some cold hard cash the weekend Francis is in town. From a woman charging $15,000 to share her Coatesville home with her for the week, to a family on Airbnb renting out their pull-out couch at the staggering rate of more than $5,000 for the weekend alone, rents in and around the city have skyrocketed far beyond The World Meeting of Families' suggested rate of no more than $30 to $50 per night.

Sure, airbnb is legal now, Philadelphia recently becoming the largest city in the U.S. to pass legislation specifically enabling people to share their homes. So it's legal, yes. But, as a little grasshopper once sang to a wooden puppet, "always let your conscience be your guide." Maybe think twice before charging a family of pilgrims what would take more than 34 weeks to pay off on a minimum wage salary.


↑ This 600 square foot...space...out on Lancaster Avenue rents by the hour. Guess how much. $250. Want it for the whole week? That'll cost you $20,000. There are no bedrooms - we assume people will need to byo sleeping bags? There is one bathroom, though, per the listing. If you arrange those chairs just right you could probably fashion yourself quite the platform bed.


↑ This three-bedroom house in Washington Square West is renting for $5,000 each night the weekend of the Papal Visit. So, arriving Friday and leaving Sunday, expect to drop more than $10,000.


↑ "Commuting to see the Pope? He is just a subway or cab ride away," claims this listing for an apartment in Old City charging almost $10,000 for two nights the weekend of the papal visit. But, as you might have read, the subways won't be stopping in Center City. And even if there isn't an eight-foot-tall fence around parts of Center City with an alleged four-block no-car-zone radius surrounding it, you should just wipe the fantasy of hailing a cab up to the Pontifical mass right out of your mind.


↑ This is a lovely new home "steps away from center city and the pope." It features three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a roof deck. Depending on how many "steps" this residence really is from the Parkway, you may be able to forego the crowds and if you crane your neck just right catch a glimpse of the Pope-mobile: all for a little over $8,000.


↑ This "sun filled house in Fairmount" has a two-night minimum stay, so you're locked into spending almost $10,000 for the weekend to stay in this three-bedroom, two and a half-bath abode that features a roof deck.


↑ OK, this one may not be too bad. For $6,000 you can rent this apartment just a block away from the Parkway for the weekend, and per the listing, you can squeeze
"up to four persons of top floor of 3 story Colonial row home." So, really, that's not too too bad if you split it between some of your buds. And there are two bedrooms, so no one's sleeping in the bathtub or anything like that.


↑ This three-bedroom home in Graduate Hospital features a roof deck, and with the $600 service fee, will fetch more than $10,000 for two nights over the weekend of the Papal visit.


↑ This listing, which goes for it and just features a large photo of a smiling pope as its featured image, is a "large 2 BR 1 BA apartment just steps from the train and bus located just off Main St in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia! Be in center city within minutes!" Just - we've been through this before. You won't be. But - you'll only be spending around $2,500 for the whole weekend, so.


↑ This is pretty much as good as it gets. Literally right in the center of the action, this house looks over The Parkway. It's a 4 story twin with a a one car garage and a small patio, and it's going for a little over $10,000 for the weekend.


↑ This home in Moorestown, NJ is renting for $7,000 a night, for a total of more than $14,000 for two nights including a service fee. "We are a 20 minute drive to Downtown Philadelphia and a short drive from train stations," claims the listing. No mention of how the Pope is going to be the only one allowed to drive around downtown Philly that weekend.


↑ This three-bedroom apartment in Bella Vista is asking $15,000 for the week of the pope visit, or the best offer for any portion of that time.


↑ This three-bedroom house in deep South Philly is renting for $20,000 for an unspecified amount of time for the time around the Papal visit. The weekend? The week? The whole month? But some perks: per the listing, the rent includes: "unlimited bus/subway passes provided with maps and schedules. Catch Septa at the corner. Catholic Church across the street."

· The City of Brotherly Love: The Largest U.S. City to Embrace Home Sharing Yet! [AirBnb]
· SEPTA and the Pope's Visit: Everything You Need to Know [Philly Mag]
· Housing offers for papal visit range from bargains to prayers [Philly.com]
· Drop $5K This Weekend on Sleep Sofa in West Philly Airbnb [Curbed Philly]